Brian being such a great, loving, and dedicated father and partner means very much to me. I never had a father growing up. I had father figures, but just that – figures. Shadows. Phantoms.
I’m not saying I feel like the father figures I grew up having didn’t actually love me, or that my love for them isn’t real. It very much is, and I appreciate them so very much. I love looking at old photos of when I was tiny, because my Uncle Butch is probably either holding me or somewhere beside me in at least half of them. He grew up without a father too, so we’ve always had a special bond. My Papaw is the most important man in my life, and I can tell he looks at me differently than the other grandkids. He knows I see him as more than just Papaw. I see him as close to a father as I can.
My father was and still is an alcoholic. He and my mom divorced when I was 3. The first time I remember meeting him, I was 7 years old and we lived an hour away from here with my step-dad at the time and his son. I remember him crying and saying I was so big and so pretty. When you’re 7 years old, you don’t realize things.
At 7 years old, I didn’t realize how my father was never really a father, not even to his son, my half brother. I didn’t realize his tears were probably full of guilt and anxiety. I didn’t realize when my mom calmly asked, “Autumn… Your dad is here to meet you. Want to put on a pretty dress?” behind her voice was more than likely anger, fear, hatred. I didn’t realize plans to the roller rink being cancelled wasn’t really getting my hopes crushed.
Despite the ups and downs I’ve had with what little relationship I have with my father, I’ve managed not to be psychologically screwed up the ass. I’m a pretty freaking awesome mom, and I had a daughter with a really amazing guy. He is changing my view on what being a father means every day. He’s making dads around the world look a little better to me. I never thought all dads were crap or anything like that… but I’m less likely to think something negative about my dad when I see other great dads with their children.
So, happy father’s day to Brian, to my Papaw, to my Uncle Butch, to my Uncle Ray, to my soon-to-be father-in-law Randy, and to all the other dedicated and loving dads out there. You’re doing something great for your family.